Victory in my second home

The race in Wales was very important to me. I could say that this is my second home rally because it was my 11 th time there. I drove my first rally there at the age of 17 after getting a British driver’s license. This was my second victory in Wales and my seventh all together in the series. I celebrated my victory with my Welsh friends who have delivered me the parts that I have needed in my Historic Ford Escort. I am extremely relieved and confident at the moment. Self confidence has been hiding every now and then during this season but eventually I still know how to do this job. The start of Rally Wales was not a very good one. I made a minor mistake on stage two and hit a stub. I calmed myself down after that stage and the driving started to succeed. I was able to put a twenty second gap between Sebastien Loeb and myself during that day. The Citroen drivers could not understand how that happened. During the season I have won two rallies and I have been leading four races: Monte Carlo where I went off, Mexico where I hit a rock, Portugal where I also hit a rock and Rally Acropolis where I had a puncture. Especially Monte Carlo was crucial for my dream of winning title because I lost so many important points there and losing points led to over trying. My self-confidence was not very good either. After the summer I turned a new leaf which led to two podiums, in Jyväskylä and in Germany. That lifted my spirit. In Wales I knew that I can drive all the way to the finish and that I am able to fight for the victory. Now it feels that everything is where it should be. I feel the same I felt in Sweden at the beginning of the season. After Sweden I for some reason lost my calmness. I don’t have a chance of winning the title anymore but I am still aiming at good results in the last three rallies. I am relaxed so that should be possible. The gravel event in Sardinia suits me and even in Rally Spain the third of the race is driven on gravel. France is Loeb’s cup of tea being a home rally for him. I didn’t want to think of my next year’s team negotiations during Wales. Now it is time to think of that and discuss with my manager Timo Jouhki. I promise that I’ll make my decision during next month.

Jari-Matti Latvala’s columns will be published in Ilta-Sanomat freshly after each rally

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